I love the title, Linda. Give us a quick shot of what your book is about.
This fiction book is inspired by the biblical book of Hosea. A minister has searched for his runaway, drug-addicted wife for the past fifteen years. When they are finally reunited, he discovers two alarming truths: she is dying of lung cancer, and she is a material witness against a Washington, D.C., drug lord and former lover. Though she has recently come to faith, can he extend to her the forgiveness she requests?
What was it about the biblical story that made you want to set it in contemporary times?
The story of Hosea and Gomer in the book of Hosea has long intrigued me. Why would God ask someone to enter into a disastrous relationship? How is it possible to forgive so much wrong? The parallels between Hosea’s life and Israel demonstrate God’s encompassing love and redemption. Though we may suffer the consequences of our poor choices, the Lord is sovereign even over these.
Excellent points and timely reminders for all of us. Which would you say is the book’s primary focus?
This book demonstrates that forgiveness sometimes requires an intervention from God, especially when the wrongs against us are beyond our human capacity to forgive. Aubrey must find the grace to forgive Joanna’s infidelity. The adult children struggle with abandonment by a mother who seemed to love drugs more than her children. Gregg Fischer, private investigator and Aubrey’s best friend, must overcome a hatred for drug addicts that was fueled by his wife’s murder. Cynthia Prescott seeks to restore a relationship with her elderly father who suffers from Alzheimer’s. Forgiveness is often difficult.
Authors live so close to their fictional characters. As you worked on this story, was there any particular scene that was more difficult to write than others?
Joanna’s death scene was especially difficult for me. Though I have lost family members, I was able to be with my mother during her passing. I drew from this experience as I knew angels surrounded her.
In the several books you have written, are there themes to which you return again and again?
As a retired social worker, I am drawn to stories of family relationships and the healing God provides in our most intimate circumstances. My themes deal with the universal problems and intricacies of our human relationships.
That’s a great way of describing what we all deal with, Linda – intricacies of human relationships. Considering this, how did you know God was calling you to write for Him?
Like most authors, I have always enjoyed the art of storytelling. Even in elementary school I entertained younger children with made-up versions of fairy tales or off-the-cuff stories. As a mom, I entertained my children in much the same way as I attempted to fuel their imaginations. However, in 2001, God grabbed me by the shoulders and ushered me into the world of professional writing. He cemented the call with a Writer of the Year Award at the first writer’s conference I attended. When God calls, he leaves no doubts.
What an encouraging confirmation! In your writer’s journey since those early days, what led you to your genre of choice?
I do occasionally write non-fiction. When I do, my purpose is to encourage, not preach. I write a recurring religious column for an Upstate New York newspaper and theme my articles toward faith struggles and spiritual life lessons. The majority of my fiction work is what I term blended contemporary fiction. Blended, in that the manuscript may contain various elements of historical, romantic, or suspense genres; however, each book may have more of one element than another. Jesus used the art of storytelling to illustrate his heavenly truths. That is why I primarily write fiction.
Looking for a moment at your real, nonfiction life, do you have a personal unfulfilled goal that keeps you dreaming?
My dream has always been to travel. I hoped when I retired I would be able to do so. However, finances and health issues seem to keep me homebound more than I would like. Hubs and I make short trips. We are trying to explore new places in our adopted state of Maryland. However, my three top places I’d like to visit are: The British Isles, African animal reserves, and the Great Wall of China.
What talents do you have aside from storytelling?
I love to teach. I’ve taught Sunday School for all ages. I teach at writing conferences. I taught during my social-work career. Now that I’m retired, I still do some teaching at our church for short-term projects. I also love music. In my younger years, I sang in a trio that performed at local venues. Until asthma impacted my singing, I belonged to worship teams of all the churches we attended. Looking forward to joining the heavenly choir where asthma will no longer be an issue.
Have these experiences influenced what or how you write?
I worked in human services for over twenty-five years in family counseling, services for at-risk adults and at-risk children. In addition to county social services, I worked as director of social services in a nursing home and in a hospital. Social work seeps into all my books. My career has also helped me see issues from a professional view as well as experiential point of view. Hosea’s Heart deals with addiction and how the addiction impacts the family in addition to the user.
What a gift from which to draw – the ability to view the impact of addiction from all sides. Can you tell us about your next project?
It’s a non-fiction book – Who Put the Vinegar in the Salt? This book explores how precious we are in God’s sight and how we have replaced the goodness he desires for us by looking to the world for guidance.
Thank you, Linda, for this insightful interview.